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Weather cuts short first day of Nevada Legislature

CARSON CITY — As the sun broke through the gloomy overcast sky above Nevada’s Capitol building Monday, legislators and lobbyists trudged through slush to kick off the 80th session of the Nevada Legislature before the governor shut down work for the day.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all nonessential state government offices in Carson City to close at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

About an hour later, the governor, citing “worsening weather conditions, dropping temperatures, and potentially dangerous road conditions,” ordered state offices in Washoe and Douglas counties to close at 3 p.m..

Affected employees will be granted administrative leave.

Shortly after 1 p.m., Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, called for a recess so family members of state lawmakers could begin safely heading home. Snow was expected through the evening.

The move came hours after crews on the capital grounds worked to clear entrances and pathways leading up to the building where state lawmakers were convened for the start of the 120-day biannual session.

They began working at 2:30 a.m., Mike Morelli, the grounds supervisor, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A shovel rested at his side as he chatted briefly. Nearby, other crew members continued to scrape away at the sidewalks.

“Just making sure everything’s open for everybody to get in,” Morelli said.

Everything from the parking lots to the nearby printing shop entrance had been cleared by Morelli’s crew.

“This is really nothing, to be honest with you,” said Morelli, who has worked on the grounds crew for 23 years. “But it happened to hit the first day of session.”

Crews continued to work through an afternoon whiteout to keep walkways safe. Frierson concluded the day’s session by thanking facility workers, who were still shoveling as legislators adjourned.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. Follow @rachelacrosby.

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